Tennessee Comptroller’s Office has released a performance audit of Tennessee Department of Correction (TDOC) and the results will require many improvements.

The audit contains 18 findings and numerous observations detailing areas where problems need to be addressed. These issues were presented to the Joint Government Operations Subcommittee on Judiciary and Government on Monday, Jan. 13.

The audit’s key conclusions include the following:

•TDOC’s leadership must improve its oversight in order to ensure compliance with laws, regulations and polices, provide safe and secure facilities, and reduce the risk to public safety.

•TDOC’s annual inspection percentage scores of facilities do not provide a clear measure of correctional facility performance. These scores do not give additional weight to “critical” findings that may impact safety and security.

•TDOC has not ensured that data on incidents, including deaths and other serious incidents, is valid and reliable.

•TDOC should ensure that staff follow policies and procedures for investigating sexual abuse and harassment allegations.

•TDOC did not ensure its medical and mental health contractors met required staffing levels, and it allowed contractors to offset assessed liquated damages outside of the contracts’ authority.

•TDOC must be able to demonstrate that inmates are receiving sufficient medical and mental health services.

•TDOC and CoreCivic must continue efforts to ensure adequate staffing in order to provide safe and secure facilities. CoreCivic must also continue making progress on the accuracy of its monthly staffing reports.

•Management must ensure staff perform inmate screenings within required timeframes. Management must also be sure inmates are aware of information and services the department provides.

•Although there has been improvement, the department has still not ensured adequate monitoring of individuals placed on parole or probation.

•The department has had difficulties in replacing its outdated information management system for offender data.

•Department management did not ensure that its staff and CoreCivic complied with public records regulations, resulting in lost records as well as potential evidence.

•The department has not reported recidivism rates for inmates who participated in educational and vocational programs, as required by statute.

“I encourage TDOC management to review each of these findings and develop plans to correct them,” said Comptroller Justin P. Wilson. “It’s likely this will include revising current policies, training and re-training staff, and performing additional monitoring to ensure laws and policies are being followed.”

Anyone who suspects fraud, waste or abuse of public money in Tennessee may call the Comptroller’s toll-free hotline at 800-232-5454, or file a report online at www.comptroller.tn.gov/hotline.